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Realgar? What do I do with it?


I have found quite a few of these now on my local riverside and I think they could be Realgar. They are very soft, can crumble them in my hand and find them on very low tides (they’d normally be covered by the water) and usually partially sheltered under a rock.
I was alarmed when I discovered it might be Realgar as it’s toxic so I asked around for advice what to do with it but no one has given me an answer, just more suggested places to ask.
At the moment I have it in a jar wrapped in plastic, but I have children and don’t like the idea of it in the house. Any advice on who would want it or how to get rid of it?


Hi Carolyn,

They do resemble realgar, but realgar decomposes in oxygenated water, so it’s unlikely that realgar formed in a tidal zone. There are a number of things this could be, so I’d suggest taking it to your local mineral museum or mineral club.

Just in case it is realgar, store the jar in the dark. Realgar reacts with light to produce a gas you definitely don’t want to breathe!